Protein is the most lauded supplement to help you build lean muscle mass, and that holds truth, but it doesn't mean you slight the importance of amino acids supplements that can be effective or as necessary as protein.
Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs, are one of these amino acids you ought to take if your goal is to gain muscle. They comprise leucine, valine and isoleucine. Over 35% of your body's muscle mass is made up of BCAAs, and they play a crucial role in developing muscles at a molecular level. BCAAs are also essential amino acids, which means your body cannot produce them, and you must attain it from food.
WHAT DO BCAAs DO?
To put it simply, BCAAs transport nitrogen around your body, acting as a catalyst for protein synthesis, so you can build more muscle tissue. BCAAs also make your body produce insulin to allow blood sugar to be circulated for energy, and increase your uptake of muscle building amino acids.
HOW DO BCAAs WORK?
Your muscles break down as you work out because you're putting your body under intensive strain. The glycogen in your body is also reducing rapidly, expended for energy. Consuming BCAAs signals your body to synethsize protein, rather than catabolise your muscles for energy. BCAAs increase the rate your body creates lean muscle, and also amps up your cells' ability for protein synthesis. This means more gains, faster.
WHY TAKE BCAAs?
You now know that BCAAs are one of the major building blocks of muscle building, but they aren't just a one-trick amino acid. BCAAs are also a performance enhancer, capable of increasing the intensity of your workout. It is able to indirectly reduce the amount of serotonin that enters your brain during training. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is a key culprit in how your body perceives fatigue. The more serotonin in your brain during training means you feel more tired, reducing the intensity of your workout and your performance. BCAAs can counteract that.
Many people argue that you don't have to take BCAAs because they are already available in whey protein, but that is not true. The BCAAs found in whey are bound to other amino acids, and can only be absorbed into your body through digestion, before its effects can be delivered. Even though whey protein is fast-acting, it still requires time. Pure BCAAs or BCAAs in some pre-workout supplements are very fast digesting. Once ingested, they enter your body, bypassing your liver and gut to enter your blood stream. It is far quicker than whey protein, making it a fantastic supplementary amino acid.
Studies have also shown that BCAAs can significantly decrease the level of fat in your body because the increase in the rate of protein synthesis increases the amount of energy you expend to the point where your body begins to burn off fat as well.
WHEN TO TAKE BCAAs?
BCAAs are best consumed around a workout, preferably 5 to 10 minutes before, and sipped during. This is because the effects of BCAAs are ideally utilised during a workout but you can also take it any other time of the day if you need a little jolt in focus, and more energy. Take 4 to 8 grams each time your supplement with BCAAs. There is a limit to how many times you can take them in a day, so do read the label closely for any instructions on dosage.
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- November 08, 2017
- Beatrice E